Case details

Claimant: Back pain related to rear-ender, not cancer





Result type

Not present

aggravation of pre-existing condition, back
At approximately 11:45 a.m. on March 11, 2008, claimant Laurie Becklund, 59, a consultant, slowed her 2004 Lexus GS300 to a stop for a red stop light on westbound Melrose Avenue, at its intersection with Lucerne Boulevard in Los Angeles, when she was rear-ended by a 1998 Subaru Legacy operated by William Mahoney. The impact subsequently caused Becklund’s vehicle to be pushed forward into the car ahead of her. She later claimed aggravated back pain from the collision. Becklund sued Mahoney, alleging that he was negligent in the operation of his vehicle. The matter proceeded to arbitration. Becklund claimed that as she was nearing to stop, she saw Mahoney’s vehicle still speeding forward in her rear-view mirror. She alleged that as a result, she twisted her to the right with her right foot on her brake in preparation for impact. Mahoney conceded liability., Becklund was not treated at the scene or taken to a hospital, but presented to physical therapy the next day. She claimed she had ongoing back complaints prior to the accident, but that after the collision she pain became worse. Thus, she claimed the accident aggravated her symptoms. Becklund alleged that although she initially treated with physical therapy and consulted with her orthopedic surgeon, her treatment eventually became more aggressive. During the course of her treatment for back pain, Becklund was diagnosed with cancer, which caused metastases in her spine. After the diagnosis, she was treated through her oncologist and was referred to a neurosurgeon regarding her back pain. Her oncologist and treating neurosurgeon subsequently ordered additional physical therapy and epidural injections. It was the oncologist’s opinion that the back pain was unrelated to the metastases in her spine. Becklund also argued that the back pain was unrelated to the cancer, but rather from the aggravation of her back condition from the accident. The respondent’s neurosurgery expert disagreed with Becklund and her oncologist’s opinion, and opined that the claimant’s back pain and resulting treatment was related to cancer, not from an aggravation of her pre-existing spinal condition.
Arbitration Company, CA

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